Changing your Travel Management Company

PRIORITY’s ‘EASI steps’ to finding and implementing a new TMC

12 May 2021
With many changes occurring over the past year companies are beginning to assess their current travel needs and review their businesses travel programme. But if you haven’t done this before where do you begin?

For many this can seem like a monstrous undertaking due to the perceived complexity of implementing a new TMC. However, if you’re prepared and recognise your requirements then finding the right TMC becomes simpler and implementing a new travel programme suddenly becomes a lot less daunting.

Firstly, is it necessary to change your TMC? Explore the latest/most innovative products on the market to provide a comparison to your current solution. This will enable you to make an informed decision and judge if change is needed. For instance, how does your current provider compare when it comes to new technologies, duty of care and sustainability?

If you have decided that it would be beneficial to look for a new TMC, then here’s our ‘EASI steps’ to guide you.

  1. Evaluate - what are your pains and future travel requirements
  2. Assess – which TMCs are out there and what solutions do they offer
  3. Select – write your tender and invite the chosen TMCs
  4. Implement – work with your chosen TMC to create the ideal travel programme

Are you fully aware of the company’s and your colleagues’ requirements and what current challenges are being faced?

Start by communicating with everyone who deals with any element of your travel programme, the procurement team, finance department, bookers, and the travellers. They will all have thoughts on your current travel solution and their combined feedback will give you a clearer picture of what the perfect TMC looks like. It will also ensure that your tender document will be relevant and address issues that have arisen during these conversations and pinpoint objectives you want to achieve.

Pains may include: slow response times, unclear itineraries, lack of consistency, uncompetitive pricing, no air or hotel negotiated agreements, travel policy adherence, complicated authorisation process, lack of traveller support and wellbeing, unclear management reporting/invoicing and a complicated booking tool.

You’ll also want to gather as much management information about your travel as possible, this will be highly beneficial for you and your chosen TMC, especially as these details may contain the solution to your pains, for example:

  • Are non-policy hotels being booked instead of those with a corporate agreement, ensuring quality of service and the continuation of your negotiated rates?
  • Are bookings being made close to the point of travel, increasing the cost of your rail and air due to limited availability?
  • Is there complete visibility around projects enabling cost management throughout?
  • Does the data give a clear picture of visited destinations to ensure traveller safety?
  • Are all bookings accounted for or are they being made outside the usual system due to cost and trust issues?
  • How much time is spent on booking travel – is it an efficient process?
Include questions in your tender that raise the specific pains discovered from the evaluation, this will enable the TMCs to demonstrate if their solution can help alleviate these issues.


You now know the company’s expectations and the challenges that need addressing so it’s time to find TMC’s that have relevant solutions.

PRIORITY has built a high percentage of its business through word of mouth and recommendations so approaching other companies within your industry to find out who they use will be a good place to start, especially as they may have suffered from the same issues before changing TMC.

Look on the internet at TMCs that specialise in your industry, at PRIORITY we work very closely with construction, retail, and life science companies enabling us to pre-empt and resolve issues and pains that we know will arise.

Attend a corporate travel event (when they resume) enabling you to discuss your requirements with many different providers and see first-hand what’s on offer. You’ll be able to get a better feel for each company, their people, and the solution they offer as you’ll be able to demo some of their systems. If you do decide to attend an event, we would suggest collating a list of the potential TMCs to meet in person, a great way to get a true first impression of the company.

Once you’ve found a few TMCs have a closer look at their complete solution, does it tick all your boxes, do they have similar clients, how many years’ experience do they have, do they have global booking facilities, what are their values?


Make a shortlist of around 5 TMCs you wish to approach and invite them to tender for your travel. You’ve spent the time evaluating your companies needs and analysing the data so producing a relevant tender document based around these requirements should be straight forward.

Include a detailed overview of the needs and wants of the company, this will ensure each TMC provide answers that are relevant. For instance: they may all have an online platform but what do you need the platform to do to facilitate your company’s requirements and alleviate any previous pains.

Remember your solution will be unique, so ask unique questions.

Testimonials are very important at this stage, so make sure you request contact details from at least two of their clients, enabling you to find out first-hand how the TMCs solutions have worked for others.

Don’t forget fees, there are many ways to pay for travel management services but what would best suit your company? A fixed fee for each transaction, a fee based on a percentage of the travel cost, a fee per travel element or is a management fee based on your yearly spend the best solution, request all fee options to ensure you have a clear understanding of each TMC’s charges and your choices.

You need buy-in from all those involved so a smooth, thoroughly planned implementation process is paramount, request a detailed breakdown of their processes, a list of all the stakeholders involved and what they’re accountable for and a timeline that breaks down the weeks of implementation including future review meetings.

Remember a quick implementation process isn’t always beneficial, rushing through can prevent colleagues been given enough time to adjust to the changes which can jeopardised the whole process.

Once you’re down to the last 2 or 3 TMCs we would highly recommend meeting in person. A face to face meet is invaluable to ensure there is a synergy between parties and that everyone is on the same page going forward to achieve the best outcome.

Communication is key!

How can you help make this process as smooth as possible? Well you’ve already done the hard work and your new TMC knows exactly what’s needed to ensure your expectations are met, so your focus at this stage is ensuring everyone is aware of the changes that are about to happen and their responsibilities.

Your new TMC will set timelines for all the different stages of the implementation process giving you a clear outline of what is being done and when.

For instance:

  • Company introductions
  • MI data configuration and review
  • Technology integration,
  • Initiating corporate agreements
  • Profiles
  • Policy review/creation, for the company and individuals
  • Training to enable your bookers to hit the floor running
  • Testing
  • Feedback and review meetings for continuous communication
  • SLA Agreements
  • Ongoing stakeholder meetings
  • Billing and payment
  • Account management team introductions
You’ll need a tailored solution to suit your company and your colleagues so make sure enough time is being spent on the areas that you feel will impact your users the most, for instance: review meetings, policy build, profile configuration, system training and live testing, make sure each area and its timeline is agreed on before the implementation starts.
Finding contact details for a certain department or person can become frustrating during the implementation process so request a ‘who’s who guide’ for all stakeholders to make getting in touch an easier process.
Once implementation is complete a 3, 6 and 12 months plan should be put in place to ensure continuity and provide ongoing support, this will also enable you and your incumbent to identify ways to strengthen your travel policy and review your management information for future saving opportunities.
By the end of the first year of working together with your TMC you should have built up a strong day to day relationship and established a framework and visibility for the travel programme.
We hope our ‘EASI steps’ has been helpful and makes the process of looking for a new provider a little less daunting. Should you require more support or guidance or would like to enquire about our travel management solution then please don’t hesitate to get in touch with the PRIORITY team at [email protected] 
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